Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The other day I was pondering the question, “How do you see yourself in 10 years?” and I honestly couldn’t.

I couldn’t even see myself in five years.

I’ve never been good at picking a point in the future and imagining life then. I’ve always been more concerned with things like what I’m going to have for lunch. Frankly, I don’t like thinking about 10 years from now because every time I've ever imagined something pleasant that didn't materialize, I felt like a catastrophic failure. I don't want my life to be a series of unrealized visions.

Rather than risk the disappointment, I figure it’s better to assume things will be good in 10 years – however things are. I would never say that in an interview, though. Those folks like to hear that you’ve got a plan – something that motivates you from day to day. That’s why it’s important to say something like, “In five years I plan to have your boss’s job.” Then laugh like you’re joking and stop suddenly so they wonder what's really going on in your head.

The fact that I can't imagine myself 10 years from now had me wondering: how far in the future can I see? Turns out it's not very far. Most of the time I can’t even see what I’ll be having for dinner, much less how things are going to be in 5 years. Some go-getters might preach that this lack of vision has likely prevented me from becoming more than what I am today – but since I’m not unhappy in the least at what I’ve become, I can’t say that lack of vision is a bad thing. Without vision, I have become what I am and trust that this is what I was supposed to be. Thanks to my short-sightedness, I've been spared a lifetime of disappointment! How's that for looking on the bright side?

Self-help tutorials on success tell you it all begins with a vision. You need to be able to picture a point in time and focus on that – I suppose the shorthand term for this would be something called a “goal.” I think I have goals, even if I lack vision. Yes, really. I have a general idea of where I’d like to be and what I’d like to be doing – but mostly it’s about how I’m going to feel when I get there: which is good. I’d like to feel good in five years. And ten. And if God gives me 15 or 2 more, I'd like to feel good then, too. I might still be in advertising then. Or not. I might be an author or a columnist. Or a masturbatory consultant. Whatever becomes of me, I think the goal is to be good. It's a little different from envisioning myself the owner of a company, or chief creative officer of a marketing boutique, and far less restrictive. I don't want to box myself in like that. Not when the world can change in a day.

So yeah - I lack vision. But I don't see anything wrong with that.

I rarely lament the things I did not become. I don’t feel like my career as a budding musician was prematurely nipped. I don’t feel like I should have been a banker. I don’t wish I’d taken the LSAT, for which I very nearly signed up after college. Who knows how my life would have been had I taken a different path. I think a lot of people think back and imagine it would have been better – so much better – if only they had done something else. If only they had chosen to BE something else.

But we are who are and we do what we do. And we can’t know that things would have been better had we gone a different way, so presuming as much only serves to fuel discontent in what we have actually become. And that’s what’s real. That's what matters.

Now, if you will excuse me, I just envisioned the Prime Beef sub at Quizno's and know exactly where to find one.


Donkey Hoatie said...

Once I heard that he wouldn't be implementing my 3-part plan (detailed at http://donkeyhoatie.blogspot.com), I decided not to tune in.

Rumor has it that Bush was actually making sense. Maybe the Ritalin finally kicked in.

Hope the Prime Beef sub worked out all right for you. It seems like every time I get something from them it starts up a rumble in the Bronx.

kimmy said...

god.. it is sooo cool to hear your rants again